Assisted reproduction and therapeutic cloning (2004)
While the referendum campaign for the repeal of the assisted reproduction law is gathering momentum and two weeks before the end of the signature collection, Eurispes has released the results of a survey conducted in June and July 2004 on a sample of 1,500 citizens across Italy. According to the Eurispes survey, 64.9% of Italians are in favour of assisted fertilisation. Regarding the possibility for an infertile couple to resort to assisted reproduction techniques in the laboratory, most of the citizens interviewed consider this choice legitimate. On the other hand, 31.3% expressed a negative opinion. In contrast, 3.8% were unwilling or unable to express an opinion. However, the current law has the merit of being in line with the majority of Italians, for whom this type of reproductive technique remains a limit not to be exceeded. Indeed, 55.7% of citizens believe that recourse to heterologous fertilisation is illegitimate.
There is an apparent contradiction between the intensity with which the overwhelming majority of Italians (almost two Italians out of three) favour assisted reproduction, and the current law, which strongly inhibits recourse to the new reproductive techniques even if it does not prohibit them altogether. Nevertheless, the complexity of the issues related to fertilisation should suggest that the majority and the opposition should discuss the matter without ideological prejudices to define legislation that can effectively combine the different positions and cultures present within the various political camps and, therefore, within Italian society.